Custom print businesses often focus on printing everything including business cards, photos, and even custom T-shirts.
To start an online custom prints business, choose a niche that will help your business stand out and attract the right target audience. Then, focus on producing quality prints of different sizes, materials, and designs. You may hire designers online or search for designs in online design communities. Then, validate the designs before you begin mass production. Finally, set up an online store, and launch the business.
Remember that with the growth in popularity of selling custom prints, expect to face stiff competition. Therefore, you ought to market your custom prints on social media to maximize your reach.
Here are some real life success stories of starting a custom prints business:
1. Framed Tweets ($300K/year)
Zach Katz (from Amsterdam, Netherlands) started Framed Tweets over 5 years ago.
Hi! I’m Zach Katz, and I started Framed Tweets to give people a simple way to beautifully frame their favorite tweets as art, to remember and enjoy forever.
2. Underground Printing ($36M/year)
Rishi Narayan (from Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA) started Underground Printing over 21 years ago.
I am Rishi Narayan, co-founder of Underground Printing (UGP), a national custom printing apparel and promotional products provider, headquartered in Ann Arbor, MI. UGP offers screenprinting, digital printing, and embroidery on a wide variety of apparel and promotional products. We have stores throughout the nation in the heart of communities we serve. At UGP, it’s our goal to make your order process as convenient and hands-on as possible.
Since launching the company in 2001 while sophomores in college, UGP has 35+ locations across the country. All of our garment print production is done in our state-of-the-art 55,000 sq. ft. production facility and warehouse, located in southeast Michigan. Our technology and infrastructure allow us to provide the best quality, the lowest prices, and with the shortest turnarounds in the industry. It is these traits that have propelled our growth, allowing us to be ranked among Inc. Magazine’s 5000 fastest-growing companies for 3 years running.
3. Dexpel ($1.44M/year)
Sarim Nadeem (from Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan) started Dexpel about 13 years ago.
Hi, My name is Sarim and I am the founder of Dexpel. Dexpel is a custom print store with the ability to customize them as per your style and printing. From a wide variety of apparel to all the possible merchandise, we do it all.
4. PinAround ($44.4K/year)
Erika Holm (from Malmo, Skåne County, Sweden) started PinAround over 6 years ago.
Hello, my name is Erika Holm. I am 23 years old and I'm from Sweden. Since I was a kid, I dreamt about being a business owner. In February 2016, my dream came true and I launched PinAround.
In 2017, we made $44,000 USD, with approximate 35% increase in every quarter.
5. Ryteprint ($300K/year)
OLAWALE AWANI (from Palmgrove) started Ryteprint over 5 years ago.
My name is Olawale Awani, I started an online printing business to help small businesses have access to professional design and print services using a technology platform (website and social media accounts). The primary products and services are customized printed products, marketing materials, and promotional items.
We currently service about 5,000 active customers with an average $25,000 monthly revenue and a net profit of 20% margin. We have a monthly order fulfillment of about 500 orders monthly with 10 employees and about two dedicated to phone support.
6. NOVA CUSTOM PRINTING ($180K/year)
Michael Nova (from New York, NY, USA) started NOVA CUSTOM PRINTING ago.
My name is Michael Nova and I am the Director and Founder of Nova Custom Label Printing. We offer branding and marketing solutions to businesses nationwide. We print anything a small or large business might need…
We went from being a mom-and-pop small business starting in 1995 to now serving major corporations. Along the way, I learned powerful lessons of how to overcome adversity, both in business and in life.
7. Goober Prints ($79.2K/year)
With a full-time job, a baby at home, and a thriving side hustle, Troy Parker was becoming a master juggler. He was excited about the growth of his Etsy shop, Goober Prints, but was beginning to reach the ceiling of his own capacity. Troy specializes in fun, quirky, customizable direct-to-garment…
Troy Parker (from Crystal Lake, Illinois, United States) started Goober Prints over 3 years ago.
Troy Parker is the founder of an Etsy shop selling customizable garments for both humans and pets. He specializes in fun & weird customized garment & accessory printing.
Goober Prints had a breakthrough year in 2020, increasing total sales to $80,000 from just under $10,000 in 2019. In 2020 he sold around 4000 items in total and this gave him a boost to turn his side hustle into a full-time business.
Read the full article on sidehustlenation.com ➜
8. Van Woof ($1.26M/year)
Luke Emery has a background in design and portrait painting. So he decided to utilize these skills and his e-commerce experience to start a business selling custom pet portraits.
Van Woof specializes in putting your dog or cat into a Renaissance-style oil painting, as if they really posed for t…
Luke Emery (from London, England, United Kingdom) started Van Woof about 2 years ago.
- Van Woof was created by Luke Emery, who specializes in making oil paintings of your dog or cat appear as though they are posing for a portrait in Renaissance style.
- Luke Emery has experience in both portrait painting and design. So he made the decision to launch a company that sells personalized pet portraits using his abilities and his experience with online shopping.
- Despite not being Luke's first e-commerce venture, this one has taken off like a rocket.
- From a two-week challenge, it developed into a company that processes $3,500 in orders every day.
Listen to the full podcast on podcasts.apple.com ➜
9. Big Frog Franchise ($492K/year)
Sanford Booth (from Portland, Oregon, USA) started Big Frog Franchise almost 11 years ago.
- Sanford Booth started Big Frog of Portland out of a desire to support Big Frog’s local community through entrepreneurship
- Booth purchased a Big Frog franchise to launch his own t-shirt printing business. In just four months, he made a profit on his nearly $200k initial investment.
- His first year's earnings were $85,000; this year, he anticipates earning $550,000.
- Before he opened Big Frog, Sanford’s main background was in real estate. He determined that the quickest way for him to launch a t-shirt company as a first-time entrepreneur would be to buy a franchise.
Watch the full video on youtube.com ➜
Hey! 👋I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
We interview successful business owners and share the stories behind their business. By sharing these stories, we want to help you get started.
Interested in starting your own business? Join Starter Story Premium to get the greatest companion to starting and growing your business:
- Connect + get advice from successful entrepreneurs
- Step by step guides on how to start and grow
- Exclusive and early access to the best case studies on the web
- And much more!